Wrongful ISP piracy suspension raises questions

If internet service providers are going to become copyright police, then a recent case involving a Colorado woman suggests there’s a need for better safeguards to prevent people from being wrongly accused and cut off from the web, CNET reports. All Cathi Paradiso knew for sure, as she learned that her web access was being shut off, was that she was losing her struggle to stay calm. To Paradiso, the customer-service representative from Qwest Communications could have been speaking Slovenian for all the sense it made. Her internet service was suspended… Hollywood studios accused her of copyright violations… she illegally downloaded 18 films and TV shows…”Zombieland,” “Harry Potter,” “South Park…” South Park? What would a 53-year-old grandmother want with “South Park,” she thought to herself? Paradiso, a technical recruiter who works out of her home, would eventually be cleared. Last week, Qwest had a technician investigate—after CNET began making inquiries—and he discovered that her network had been compromised. So Paradiso is off the hook, but she wants to know what would have happened had she not gone to the media. There was no independent third party to hear her complaint. There was no one to advocate for her. “This goes to show that there’s a problem with due process in these kinds of situations,” said Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “If you’re going to kick somebody off the internet, there’s a lot of procedures that need to be put in place to protect the innocent. It doesn’t look like those were in place here.”

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